June 2014
Brought to you by Dairy's Professional Development Organization


TIPS TO SEIZING HIGH FORAGE YIELDS AND OPTIMUM QUALITY will be shared during the July 2 World Class Webinar led by Dr. Dan Undersander, University of Wisconsin Extension professor of agronomy. The hour-long webinar, "Quality & Quantity: Reap the Most All Summer Long," starts at noon CDT and will zero in on factors to consider with current crop conditions plus methods to obtain great forage. Dr. Undersander will cover questions such as: 

  1. Why is summer yield reduced from first cutting? 
  2. Will fungicide application increase yield? 
  3. What fertilizer should be applied for high yield? 
  4. And more of your questions.  
To participate in this informative and timely July 2 webinar, you must pre-register by Wednesday, June 25. Registration lets your business have as many people who can gather around a computer participate. And if you have a date/time conflict, you can watch a fully recorded version at your leisure. Sign up today online by clicking here, or call PDPW at 800-947-7379. 



THE HEAT OF SUMMER IS COMING, and summer's hot days can challenge dairy cows. Signs of heat stress typically start when temperatures are in the mid to upper 80s in very dry conditions - 10% to 20% humidity - and at about 70 degrees in very humid conditions - those above 75%. But are you aware that a lag of about two days can occur between heat stress conditions and when cattle show the signs of heat stress? To stay ahead of heat stress, check your cows for heat stress indicators such as reduced feed intake, decline in milk production, less active cows that stand more, cows crowding together particularly around water tanks, cows panting and breathing open mouth and increase rectal or milk temperatures. In addition to modifying diets to help cows cope with heat stress, think sprinklers, fans and shade.



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: The always popular Dr. David Kohl gave a series of PDPW World Class Webinars this spring on dairy financial health and management. He told participants that they need to get used to managing through cycles."We are definitely in the top of the cycle. This is the time to get your balance sheet and income statement in order. In the top of the cycle, you build up your cash. This is your shock absorber." For more of Dr. Kohl's advice on managing through cycles, a summary article of his latest webinar, "Managing Through Cycles: Staying in Control of Your Business," can be found by clicking here, thanks to the Wisconsin State Farmer.


Kutz Dairy LLC


Ron and Pam Kutz started Kutz Dairy near Jefferson, Wis., in 1973, bringing their sons, Aaron and Allan, into the family dairy and continually modernizing over the years. In 1994 they built a milking parlor and freestall barn, with more freestall barns added later. While the dairy started with Holsteins, it transitioned to Jerseys and today ranks among the Top 25% of the breed for Jersey Performance Index.


How did they make the breed transition? Ron says in the early years they were using Jersey bulls for calving ease. After crossbreeding (Holstein X Jersey) for several years, they bought a herd of 50 Jerseys in 2000.


"We really liked the Jerseys," he said, "and a few years later, we added another 400 and then added more and sold our remaining Holsteins."


In addition to their milking herd, the family business includes raising more than 1,600 head of dairy replacement heifers. They farm just over 1,400 acres of crop ground to supply the forage needs for their livestock and purchase most of their grain. The family contracts their milk and their feed purchases. 


"We manage margins by marketing on both sides - inputs and milk," Aaron states."We've worked at commodity marketing for years. We are not trying to get the top milk price in the market. We just want to maintain a good margin consistency."


To accomplish consistency, Aaron says they keep a close handle on the cost of production and also watch the markets for inputs, dairy exports, and the global economy as a whole. "We work with a marketing consultant who teaches us and who is very knowledgeable."


Ron, Pam, Aaron and Allan are both strong proponents of continuing education - a key reason why they enjoy being members of PDPW. 


"PDPW's networking opportunities are huge," Aaron states. "We meet other producers, and it makes us aware of new technology, practices and techniques."


For Your Dairy Business...


DON'T BLAME GENETICS ALONE ON UTERINE HEALTH CHALLENGES. Texas A&M researchers found that several confounding variables - including parity, dystocia and ketosis before 17 days in milk - had more significance than genetics on uterine health. After studying the associations between bovine single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and insertion-deletion mutations occurring in seven bovine genes known to recognize bacterial ligands and the most significant uterine diseases in dairy cows, including metritis, clinical endometritis and cytologic endometritis, the researchers concluded that data suggest that some of the examined SNPs may potentially elicit relatively small effects on uterine health in Holstein dairy cows and that some confounding variables are actually more predictive for the incidence of disease than any genetic markers evaluated.



HELP CALVES BEAT THE HEAT by implementing these strategies:  null

  1. Provide shade; 
  2. Position calf housing to utilize prevailing winds and incorporate as many openings as possible to take advantage of natural air movement; 
  3. Keep grains fresh and offer only small handfuls at each feeding until calves begin to eat starter; 
  4. Work calves in the morning when both calf body temperatures and environmental temperatures are at their lowest point for the day; and
  5. Consider feeding more milk replacer.  
Jud Heinrichs, professor of dairy science, Pennsylvania State University, says, "In warm weather,starter intake is lower and additional milk replacer is needed to support desired growth. It seems logical to conclude programs that routinely feed more than 1 pound per day of powder or 1 gallon of milk are more likely to provide energy in excess of maintenance requirements over a broader range of environmental conditions."   


COMING IN THE NEAR FUTURE: A reflective calf hutch cover that will last up to 90 days, will cost under $4 per hutch and will keep calves more comfortable in hot summer months. For the past year, Dr. Ted Friend, Texas A&M Department of Animal Science, and his collaborators have been researching how to lower interior temperatures in hutches. Study data showed interior ceiling temperatures in hutches with reflective covers were about 25 degrees lower than the control hutches used in the study at 10:30 a.m. and about 30 degrees lower at 2 p.m. on summer days. "Over 10 days of on-farm trials, the highest daily peak temperatures at the level of a lying calf were 8.46 degrees lower in the hutches with reflective covers," Friend said. He adds that the cover will be disposable and the bungees and PVC pipe required to attach the material to the hutch will be reusable. "This would provide dairy producers with an effective and inexpensive way to lower heifer body temperature and, by extension, improve animal well-being and productivity," states Dr.  Ellen Jordan, AgriLife Extension dairy specialist, Dallas.



A LINK BETWEEN FERTILITY AND POSTPARTUM ENERGY STATUS? German researchers say "yes." Using regression models to assess the effect of genetic merit for energy status on different traits and on subsequent reproductive performance of 824 high-producing dairy cows, German researchers found that cows with a high genetic merit for energy balance had a significantly earlier resumption of ovarian activity after calving. The researchers conclude that an energy balance (indicator) trait should be included in future breeding programs to reduce the currently prolonged anovulatory intervals after parturition.



YOU WILL BE LESS FRUSTRATED - AND SO WILL THE COW when handlers remember to follow these rules when working cows:

  • Cows can only focus on one thing at a time. Therefore, only one person should pressure a cow at a time; 
  • Cows tend to move in and around whatever they perceive as pressure. This allows them to keep an eye on what is pressuring them as they move around or away from it; 
  • Cows want to follow other cows; 
  • Cows want to return to where they came from; 
  • Cows want to move in the direction they face; 
  • A cow will respond differently each day; and 
  • Cows walk at about 2 mph while people tend to walk about 3 to 4 mph. Handlers walking at their normal pace and parallel with cows will eventually overtake the cow, first slowing them and then stopping forward motion altogether. Handlers are advised to slow their walking speed in order to move at the same pace as calm cows.
Source: Paul Rapnicki, DVM, University of Minnesota; Margaret Perala, DVM, Deerfield, Kan.; Don H�glund, MS, DVM, University of Minnesota; and Gordon A. Jones, DVM, Central Sands Dairy, LLC. 



DISPLAY YOUR SMV SIGN-OR BE PREPARED TO FORK OVER. According to Wisconsin state law, farm tractors, agricultural implements, animal-drawn vehicles or other vehicles operated at speeds below 25 miles-per-hour must display a "Slow Moving Vehicle" (SMV) sign on the left rear of the vehicle. In all cases, operating during hours of darkness - even when the vehicle is not a SMV, requires the front and rear of the vehicle to have lights (white to the front, red to the rear) and the lights must be illuminated. A citation for failure to display a SMV sign or a violation of the lighting requirement each costs $162.70. Know the requirements in your state, for your safety, the safety of others, and to avoid citations.

For your Business Mind...


YOU CAN TURN AN UNCOMFORTABLE JOB PERFORMANCE REVIEW CONVERSATION INTO ONE that generates positive results and genuine respect by following these five tips: 

  • Focus on the action rather than on the person. Effective feedback isn't about pointing out character flaws; it's about discussing issues that need improvement. It's the difference between saying, "You have no patience, and it shows when you move cows" versus "It is clear you could use some cow-handling skills, and I have some suggestions I'd like to discuss with you."
  • Start off the conversation with a positive comment, pointing out the employee's strengths and what is currently working well. Follow with the areas in need of immediate improvement, and what needs to happen next in order to move forward. 
  • Be specific. The purpose of giving feedback is to help the person improve, so avoid giving vague or general advice. Be clear on what you'd like to see. Example: "Your calf care isn't working" doesn't give much direction. Give specific examples so your worker knows where he/she needs to improve and make corrections. 
  • Provide assistance through additional training.  
  • Follow up. Give your worker ample time to make adjustments and follow up to ensure he/she is going in the direction of your expectations. Participating in your employee's success is the mark of a good leader. When you see improvement, don't hesitate to acknowledge their efforts. Praise is a powerful motivator and encourages more of the same.


BOOK REVIEW: THE COMPOUND EFFECT. If you agree that we shape our own destiny and are among those who want to make smart choices so you can live an extraordinary life, then immerse yourself in Darren Hardy's book, The Compound Effect. Hardy's easy-to-use, step-by-step guide is packed with actionable success nuggets that can help you multiply your successes and achieve your desires-be they related to your business, family or lifestyle. After reading this book, you won't pine for quick fixes or silver bullets. You'll be creating a plan, breaking bad habits, developing new positive habits and staying with the habits so they compound. 



PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SKIMMERS - THOSE ATM THIEVES who steal your PIN and account number using remote devices - by following these four tips when you're getting cash from the ATM: 

  1. As you type in your password, cover it with the other hand. Why? Because skimmer can have disguised cameras recording what you type. 
  2. Use familiar ATMs and limit your visits. Avoid ATMs at retail stores, grocery stores, kiosks and restaurants. 
  3. Frequently check your bank balances. You have two days to report fraud. If fraud isn't reported within 60 days, you have unlimited liability. 
  4. Look at an ATM to ensure a card slot is legitimate and not tacked on. When something feels amiss when inserting your card, don't proceed. Try a different ATM.


CELEBRATE YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS DURING JUNE IS DAIRY MONTH. While we're about halfway through June, "dairy month," you can still pull off a few last-minute, easy-to-carry-out dairy month celebrations that put you and your dairy front and center. 

  • Why not bundle a basket of dairy products along with information materials and deliver it and a handwritten note to the local radio station or newspaper. Radio announcers and newspaper staff love food and they will likely talk or write about June Dairy Month as a result of your gift. 
  • You could also host a chocolate milk break after the little league or softball team practices in town. 
  • Talk to your local ice cream business about underwriting the cost of X number of ice cream cones. Then create tickets that read "Enjoy a single-scoop ice cream cone compliments of _____ (name of your dairy) at ___________(name of local ice cream business)" and pass the tickets out to people in town. As you hand the person a ticket, simply introduce yourself and say something like "June is dairy month, and I'm celebrating my cows and their contribution to making ice cream so delicious." 
OUR PDPW SPONSORS support continuous improvement for the dairy industry.They believe in producer leadership, and they place a high value on lifelong education for those involved in the dairy industry. We deeply respect their commitment to us. It is by this partnership that we continue to build a strong industry filled with capable professionals. Click here to see a list of our sponsors. If you interact with any of these companies, please thank them for supporting PDPW! 


RESOURCES TO HELP YOU SUCCEED: WOW ideas, services,  products are just a click away. Looking for the best company, best new
 invention, service or advice?  Then click away at the online virtual Hall of Ideas Trade Show.This link brings you up-to-the-minute new ideas, products and even the latest product specials-all in the comfort of your office. As you cruise the site, you'll find cutting-edge, you-should-know-this business information from the dairy industry's preferred suppliers who are key supporters of you, the dairy producer. Take some time to cruise about the site and you might be amazed at what you find and learn.   

PDPW Education Calendar


July 2
PDPW World Class Webinar with Dr. Undersander, "Cropping for Forage Rewards," Part 2, "Quantity and Quality, Reap the Most All Summer Long."
August 19, 20, 21PDPW Day Camps Presented in Spanish - "Obstetrics and Animal Handling"
August 26, 27, 28PDPW Day Camps Presented in Spanish - "Calf Care and Animal Handling"
August 27PDPW World Class Webinar with Dr. Undersander, "Cropping for Forage Rewards," Part 3, "Fall Seeding: Strategies to Maximize 2015 Stands."

Watch for the release of the PDPW 
2014-15 education calendar soon!


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